Razer Kraken Pro Analog Gaming Headset Review / Test

Today we're looking at another gaming headset from Razer; the Razer Kraken Pro Analog Gaming Headset.

I think the main selling point of this headset is the universal compatibility. It is marketed as compatible with Playstation 4, Xbox One, Windows and Mac! 

For the majority of this review, I have the Razer Kraken Pro connected directly to my MacBook Pro with the input gain set at 10%. In my sound preferences, I checked the meter, and I was not clipping, however, you will hear that there is an exorbitant amount of clipping. I tried dropping my gain all the way down to 1% and I was still encountering a clipped sound signal even though the meter was showing sound levels no greater than 50%. 

If you are interested in this microphone kit, it will set you back between $50 & $80 on Amazon

What's In the Box

  1. Headset (1.3m TRRS Cable Permanently Attached)

  2. TRRS Splitter

  3. Documentation

Specifications

Headphones

  1. Drivers: 40mm

  2. Frequency Response: 20Hz - 20kHz

  3. Impedance: 32-Ohms

Microphone

  1. Polar Pattern: Uni-directional

  2. Frequency Response: 100Hz - 10kHz

Performance / Features

The build quality of this headset is nothing spectacular. The majority of the construction is plastic, but it does feel like relatively high quality plastic when compared to a $20 headset. The headphones do offer a nice fit; providing a decent amount of give and just the right amount of pressure to ensure that they fit the majority of people's heads. The ear cups are very soft and comfortable. While the headband does not offer too much padding, it did not become uncomfortable at any point of my testing. The microphone articulates which is something that is important in a gaming headset, and it also retracts when not in use. The 1.3m cable is standard rubber, in the middle you have a control panel to adjust headphone volume and mute the microphone, and the cable terminates into a single 3.5mm TRRS jack.

The headphones offer a full frequency response ranging from 20Hz - 20kHz. The 40mm drivers push a lot of the lower frequencies which seem to drown out a lot of the higher end. However, the audio does not sound muddy. If you are a big fan of bass-heavy headphones, then this may be a good option for a gaming headset. If you're looking for an even sounding, flat frequency response set of headphones, this is not going to be for you.

The microphone, simply put, is not good. It has a harsh tone to it which almost hurts your ears. On the mac it was clipping no matter what gain I set it at. All around, it's just not a usable microphone for most applications. If you are looking to podcast, do voice overs, or do video game commentaries with this headset, look some where else. BUT, if you are going to be using it exclusively for online gaming, this mic may be perfect for that. Due to the harsh tone, it will allow your voice to cut through the games audio and ensure you're not lost in the mix.

Pros

  • Comfortable

  • Mic Articulates / Retracts

  • Heavy bass without sounding muddy

  • Microphone cuts through game sound due to harsh tone

Cons

  • Bad sounding microphone for any professional application

  • Bass overpowers higher frequencies

  • Headphone volume rocker is sensitive, and easy to accidentally hit

Conclusion

Overall, I can only recommend this for a single use case: Online Gaming. That's what it was designed for, and that's where this headset will live. It has good sounding headphones (if you like bass), and the microphone will cut through the game sound to ensure you're heard. On the other hand, if you want to use the microphone for Skype calls, voice overs, commentary, podcasts, etc, this headset will not cut it and you need to continue searching.

If you have any additional questions about this microphone, leave them on the youtube video, and I will try to reply ASAP. 

Buy it on Amazon
US: http://amzn.to/2kfOS0M
UK: http://amzn.to/2klnAbN

Lenovo Y Gaming Surround Sound Headset Review / Test

Today I am reviewing a wired gaming headset that offers surround sound as well as customizable lighting; the Lenovo Y Gaming Surround Sound Headset.

If you are interested in this headset, it will set you back $85 on Amazon

What's In the Box

  1. Gaming Headset (1.8m Cable)

  2. Removable Microphone

  3. Documentation

Specifications

Headphones

  1. Headphone Drivers: 40mm

  2. Frequency Response: 5Hz - 30kHz

  3. Impedance: 32-ohms

Microphone

  1. Polar Pattern: Cardioid (Uni-directional)

Performance / Features

The construction of this headset is mainly plastic, while maintaining a sturdy feel. The headphones rotate a minimal amount to ensure that the headphones fit whatever head shape you have. The padding on the ear cups is very soft, but it is not breathable which leads to your ears getting hot after a little while of use, the padding on the headband is not soft, and is uncomfortable, and overall the headphones are just a bit too tight which also counts against this headset's comfortability.

The braided cable is 1.8m long and in the middle of the cord you will find a limited control panel which allows you to mute your microphone as well as turn up or down the headphones volume. The cable terminates into a USB and 3.5mm plug. It needs to be noted that you CAN NOT use both at the same time; you either get a USB headset or a 3.5mm headset.

Out of the box, the headphones are a bit too bass heavy and lack a lot of the presence and shine in the high end. If you are on a Windows machine, this is easily fixable with the Lenovo Y software which allows you to enter a custom EQ, or select a preset EQ.

The microphone did decent at background noise rejections, but that's about the only thing good it did. The audio quality is unnatural sounding and shrill, and it was even difficult to listen to while editing the review. The USB connection also introduces a slight digital clicking noise that is not extremely loud, but it still hinders the microphones quality. Lastly, this thing doesn't come with a pop filter or windscreen so it picks up every breath and every plosive which degrades the audio even further.

Pros

  • Surround Sound

  • Braided Cable

  • Customizable EQ

  • Decent build quality

Cons

  • Microphone sounds like a typical gaming headset

  • High line noise on the microphone

  • No pop filter / windscreen on the headset

  • Headset uncomfortable

Conclusion

My recommendation for this headset comes with a few caveats. First, if you are interested in buying this headset, wait for the price to drop. $85 is a bit much for a wired gaming headset when the gaming headset market is chock full of cheaper alternatives. Secondly, you have to be okay with crappy microphone quality; you cannot want to record podcasts or voice overs with this thing. Third, you need windows to run the lenovo software, and without the software, the headphones are nothing I would recommend. 

If you find these on sale, and you are okay with the second two caveats, then I think this headset will work well for you if you are only planning on using them for short gaming sessions.

If you have any additional questions about this microphone, leave them on the youtube video, and I will try to reply ASAP. 

Buy it on Amazon
US: http://amzn.to/2ilGhZ0
UK: NA

Logitech G933 Artemis Spectrum Wireless Headset Review / Test

Today I am reviewing a completely wireless gaming headset; the Logitech G933 Artemis Spectrum Gaming Headset.

I do need to mention that this headset was sent to me by Logitech Gaming for the sake of doing this review. 

This is a gaming headset that is compatible with PC, Xbox One, and PS4, that has a programmable lighting, a retractable microphone, programmable buttons, and a storage compartment for the wireless dongle.

If you are interested in this headset, it will set you back $200 on Amazon

What's In the Box

  1. Gaming Headset
  2. Wireless USB Dongle
  3. USB Cable (3m)
  4. 3.5mm Cable (1.5m)
  5. RCA to 3.5mm Cable (1m)
  6. 3.5mm to 2.5mm Adapter
  7. Documentation

Specifications

Headphones

  1. Headphone Drivers: 40mm
  2. Frequency Response: 20Hz - 20kHz
  3. Battery Life: 12 Hours without lighting / 8 Hours with lighting

Microphone

  1. Polar Pattern: Cardioid (Uni-directional)
  2. Frequency Response: 100Hz - 20kHz

Performance / Features

The construction of this headset is mainly plastic, however, it feels extremely sturdy and very well put together. The ear cups rotate about 95-degrees which allows the headset to lay flat on your desk, or lay flat on your chest when they are hanging around your neck. The padding on the ear cups and headband is breathable, soft, and all around very comfortable.

On the front left ear cup you will find a retractable microphone, which is muted when it is retracted, and unmated when it is extended. On the back of the left ear cup you will find a volume wheel to adjust the headphones volume, a microphone mute button, 3 programmable buttons (which you will control using the logitech gaming software), and the power switch. On the outside of the left ear cup you will find a removable panel where you can store the wireless USB dongle to ensure you do not lose it while traveling. On the outside of the right ear cup you will find the battery for headset.

The headphones are the big selling point of this headset. In the flat mode they have a punchy and tight low end, and shimmering highs that do not sound shrill or fatiguing on the ears. You are also able to manually adjust the EQ (in the Logitech gaming software) to fit whatever sound signature you prefer. The 7.1 channel surround sounds great too, but keep in mind, I do not do much gaming so I cannot speak with any amount of authority in this arena.

The microphone does leave quite a bit to be desired as it just sounds like your standard gaming headset microphone. There was quite a bit of line noise when testing out the gain, which started at around 60-75%. However, the background noise rejection of this microphone is excellent. It picked up very minimal amounts of my keyboard while doing the typing test. 

Pros

  • Wireless
  • Headphones sound excellent
  • You can hear the mic in the headphones!!!
  • Custom EQ capabilities
  • Programmable lighting
  • 8-12 Hours of battery life
  • Great background noise rejection

Cons

  • Microphone sounds like a typical gaming headset
  • High line noise on the microphone

Conclusion

I would absolutely recommend this gaming headset if you are looking for a wireless headset that offers 7.1 channel surround sound. The headphones are the real selling point here; they sound excellent. They offer a great sound signature out of the box with great bass response that does not negatively impact the higher frequencies. On top of that, you can create your own EQ to fit what ever sound you prefer.

The microphone does not provide studio quality audio, but for gaming I think it will work well as it does a great job at rejecting background noise. However, if you are looking for a headset to podcast with, or do voice over work with, I do not think that this microphone will cut it. 

If you have any additional questions about this microphone, leave them on the youtube video, and I will try to reply ASAP. 

Buy the Logitech G933
US: http://amzn.to/2i4hrNm
UK: http://amzn.to/2hXbtBK

Antlion Mod Mic 5.0 Review / Test

Today's review covers the follow up to one of my favorite mics; we're covering the brand new Antlion Mod Mic 5.0. Before going any further, I do need to mention that for this review, Antlion sent me a review unit.

What is special about the Mod Mic is that it allows you to turn your favorite pair of headphones into a gaming headset, or a podcast studio. You stick this microphone on whatever headphones you want and you get one of the best sounding headset mics on the market.

Another huge  improvement over the last generation is that this mic has both Omnidirectional & Unidirectional polar patterns inside of it. They simply took both capsules from the 4.0 series and put them in the microphone head, so you can now use which ever polar pattern fits your use case with the flick of a switch.

This microphone is also a modular design! This means that you can make it fit whatever your setup is, as well as allow you to buy accessories if Antlion rolls out new modules for this microphone system!

If you are interested in this gaming headset, it will set you back $70.

What's In the Box

  1. Mod Mic 5.0
  2. Mute Switch Module
  3. 1m & 2m 3.5mm Cables
  4. Carrying Case
  5. Two Base Clasps
  6. Foam Pop Filter
  7. 2m Cable Wrap
  8. Cable Clips
  9. Extra 3M Adhesives
  10. Instruction Manual

Specifications

Omni Directional

  1. Frequency Response: 30Hz - 17.5kHz
  2. Sensitivity: -26dB

Uni Directional

  1. Frequency Response: 100Hz - 10kHz
  2. Sensitivity: -38dB

Performance / Features

The build of this microphone is mainly plastic and rubber, but the materials feel high quality. The magnet is much stronger, so the boom mic will be less likely to fall off of your headphones. The boom arm is much sturdier and stiffer, so no matter what position you place it in, it will not move. The cables are all kevlar reinforced, so you are not going break them, and the case provides ample protection for the mic while traveling.

This microphone has two polar patterns; omni directional & uni directional. In order to switch between the two, all you have to do is flip the switch that is on the microphone capsules body. It's as simple as that. The omni directional polar pattern picks up quite a bit of background noise, but that is to be expected with an omni polar pattern. The uni-directional setting eliminates background noise much more effectively, and if placed close to your mouth would eliminate even more background noise.

The omni directional polar pattern has a frequency response of 30Hz - 17.5kHz which is pretty good for a headset mic. While on this setting the mic has full lows and plenty of highs. When we switch to the unidirectional setting, the frequency response drops to 100Hz - 10kHz, which clearly lacks a bit in the low end as well as high frequencies. I cannot fault the uni setting for this, because it is mainly designed for gaming.

Something else I noticed while testing the microphone; it picks up minimal sound from the headphones. This is an issue that plagues many gaming headsets due to sharing wiring and housing. With the mod mic, you do have to deal with an additional cable (which they provide solutions for managing), but on the plus side, you eliminate the majority of the headphone interference. 

Pros

  • Great sounding Omni-directional microphone capsule
  • Noise eliminating Uni-directional capsule
  • Strong magnet to connect to headphones
  • Sturdy boom arm to hold form and placement of mic
  • Kevlar reinforced cables
  • Ignores headphone interference
  • Modular design

Cons

  • Adding a second cable to your headset (however, they provide options to manage cables)

Conclusion

I think this is the best option for people who want a headset microphone. You can use it to either improve the microphone's audio on your existing gaming headset, or you can use it to turn your favorite pair of audiophile headphones into a gaming headset, or podcast setup. The build quality has also been improved from the prior generation, and they have made a modular design so you can upgrade in the future.

All around, I would absolutely recommend this microphone whether you want to do light voice over work for youtube, gift it to a remote podcast guest so they have decent audio on their end, or if you just want to game with your favorite set of headphones.

If you have any additional questions about this microphone, leave them on the youtube video, and I will try to reply ASAP. 

Buy the Antlion Mod Mic 5.0
https://antlionaudio.com

HyperX Cloud Stinger Gaming Headset Review / Test

Today we are talking about the brand new HyperX Cloud Stinger Gaming Headset. What is really cool about this headset is that it is listed as compatible with PS4, Xbox One, PC, Mac, as well as your Smartphone. What's even cooler is that it's also certified to work with the following apps: Teamspeak, Discord, Skype, Ventrilo, Mumble, Raidcall. That means that no matter what system/software  you are using, this headset will likely work for you.

If you are interested in this gaming headset, it will set you back $50 on Amazon

What's In the Box

  1. Headset (1.3m Cable)
  2. Extension / Splitter Cable (1.7m Cable)
  3. Quickstart Guide
  4. 2-Year Warranty

Specifications

Headphones

  1. Drivers: 50mm
  2. Frequency Response: 18Hz - 23kHz

Microphone

  1. Polar Pattern: Unidirectional
  2. Frequency Response: 50Hz - 18kHz
  3. Sensitivity: -40dB

Performance / Features

The build quality of this headset is better than I expected. It is a plastic build, however, the plastic feels high quality and provides ample flexibility. The foam on the headset/headband is made of HyperX's memory foam and is among the best I've felt on any gaming headset. The controls are simple; you will find a single volume rocker on the right ear cup to control the headphone volume, and that's it. And lastly, the microphone arm can articulate, and in order to mute the mic you just tilt it upright and you will hear a click to indicate the microphone has been muted.

The headphones are what truly stand out on this product. There is plenty of boomy low end while maintaining the presence in the high end. I typically do not enjoy bass heavy headphones, but that is because "bass-heavy" headphones are usually plagued by muddy lows that sacrifice high frequency performance; this headset does neither of those things. You get crystal clear highs and booming lows.

The microphone on the other hand is bad, and it just sounds like your typical gaming headset mic. When I saw the unidirectional polar pattern I knew that we would lose some quality in microphone performance compared to an omnidirectional microphone, and I think that it is a smart trade off to make. This is a gaming headset, and while gaming you want people on the other end to hear your voice instead of the fan blowing in the background. This unidirectional microphone will help with that. Do not get me wrong, you will still hear background noise, but it will not be as pronounced as it would be if the microphone was omnidirectional.

Pros

  • Universally compatible
  • Great sounding headphones
  • Extremely comfortable
  • Well built
  • Articulating Mic Arm
  • Unidirectional Mic

Cons

  • Bad sounding microphone

Conclusion

Even though I think the microphone is bad, I would absolutely recommend this headset. The recommendation stems from the headphones performance and comfort. While gaming, what's most important to you is going to be the audio you hear, and the comfort of the headphones; this headset excels in both of those areas. Your friends will also be able to hear you perfectly fine through this microphone while talking to each other on teamspeak, discord or any other chat service; you just won't win any awards for audio quality.

On the other hand, if you are going to be recording voice overs or gaming commentaries with this headset, I would recommend looking elsewhere because this microphone will not cut it for professional audio recordings.

If you have any additional questions about this microphone, leave them on the youtube video, and I will try to reply ASAP. 

Buy it on Amazon
US: http://amzn.to/2gspgik
UK: http://amzn.to/2gOlQ7K

SADES SA917 USB Stereo Gaming Headset Review / Test

Before I begin I need to mention that SADES sent me a review unit of this headset to test out for this review.

Today we are going to be looking at the updated 2016 version of the SADES SA917 USB Gaming Headset. As I'm sure you could guess from the name of this product, it is a USB gaming headset, meaning it has a single USB plug to power everything.

If you are interested in this microphone, it will set you back $33 on Amazon

What's In the Box

  1. Gaming Headset (mic & cable attached)

Specifications

Headphones

  1. Drivers: 40mm
  2. Frequency Response: 20Hz - 20kHz
  3. Sensitivity: 115 +/- 3dB at 1kHz
  4. Impedance: 32 Ohms at 1kHz
  5. Max Input Power: 15mW

Microphone

  1. Frequency Response: 50Hz - 10kHz
  2. Polar Pattern (Not Listed): Omnidirecitonal (based on test)
  3. Mic Sensitivity: -38dB +/- 3dB

Performance / Features

The build quality of this headset is decent. It is still an all plastic build, but it feels sturdier than other headsets in the same price range. The padding on the ear cups and the headband is pretty comfortable, however, it does not form a tight seal around your ears. The microphone's joint feels a little bit too loose for my liking, which makes me believe that after a decent amount of use it will not stay in the desired position.

The cable is a standard 1.5m rubber USB cable with an inline controller. The control panel has a headphone volume control, microphone mute button, and a button to switch between different EQ settings. There are 4 options: (1) Off, (2) Red, (3) Green, (4) Blue. I don't know what each of these settings is because they did not list each of them. Based on listening, Red boosts bass frequencies, Green boosts high frequencies, and Blue boosts mid frequencies.

The headphones are not the best sounding that you will find. They lack a little bit in the high end and the audio in the lower frequencies is a little loose. The sound is still better than other headsets I've tested at a similar price point. 

The microphone flat out does not sound good. It is very dull sounding, almost as if you were speaking through a sheet. It lacks a LOT of high end and once you get above 50% on the gain you start to hear digital artifacts. It is also an omnidirectional microphone which means it picks up quite a bit of keyboard noise while you're gaming. You also are unable to articulate the mic to move it closer or farther away from your mouth. 

Pros

  • Cheap
  • Decent headphone sound
  • USB Headset for easy setup
  • Inline Controls
  • Comfortable

Cons

  • Poor microphone quality
  • Omni directional mic is not ideal for gaming

Conclusion

If you are on a tight budget and are looking for a headset that has decent audio quality from the headphones, this is a great option and I absolutely recommend it. On the other hand, if you are looking for a gaming headset that has great audio quality from the microphone, this is not the headset for you. 

If you have any additional questions about this microphone, leave them on the youtube video, and I will try to reply ASAP. 

Buy it on Amazon
US: http://amzn.to/2duUgup
UK: http://amzn.to/2cz6cOQ

Razer Carcharias Gaming Headset Review / Test

Today we are covering another gaming headset; the Razer Carcharias Gaming Headset. For this video/test, I connected the headset to my computer using a new Sabrent Stereo USB Soundcard which provides some voltage to the headsets microphone, ultimately improving the audio compared to connecting directly to a computer internal microphone input. I unfortunately do not own a computer with a built in mic input, so I am unable to provide a comparison.

If you are interested in this microphone, it will set you back $55 on Amazon

What's In the Box

  1. Gaming Headset w/ attached cable
  2. 3.5mm to RCA Adapter
  3. 2.5mm to 2.5mm Mic Cable
  4. XBOX 360 Audio Cable Adapter
  5. Quick Start Guide

Performance / Features

The build of this headset is pretty good. It is an all plastic build, but it feels sturdier than it's cheaper rivals. The ear cups and the headband are extremely soft and very comfortable. However, they do not fit too tightly on your ears so they do allow a bit of outside noise to get in.

You can articulate the microphone to move it closer/farther away from your mouth, and it also offers 270-degree rotation so you are able to have the microphone on the right side or left side of your face. The cable is your standard rubber cable, which is kind of disappointing. The control panel offers 2 volume controls to mix between chat and game sound, a bass volume switch, a mic mute switch, and a 2.5mm microphone input jack.

The end of the cable has (2) 3.5mm jacks and a usb cable: one 3.5mm cable is for the microphone, the other is for the headphones, and the usb cable is to help power the headset and the lights on the side.

The headphones offer 40mm drivers and list a frequency response of 20Hz - 20kHz. When I tested the performance using a tone generator, I started to hear decent performance around 24Hz in the low end, and heard audio through the top of my hearing register. When listening to music, I was let down 100%. The headphones focused far too much on the low end and lacked any semblance of clarity. Even with the bass volume control, I was unable to tune the headphones to sound remotely acceptable. 

The microphone is listed as unidirectional and offers a frequency response of 50Hz - 16kHz. It has a sensitivity of -37dB +/- dB and a signal to noise ratio of 50dB. The performance of the microphone was lackluster. It did fine when ignoring background noise, however there is a HUGE issue with the microphone. When listening to music/gaming, the microphone picks up the audio from the headphones!!! 

Pros

  • Comfortable on the ears
  • Unidirectional mic
  • 270-degree mic rotation
  • Lots of adapters

Cons

  • MICROPHONE PICKS UP HEADPHONES AUDIO!!!
  • Headphones lack any clarity

Conclusion

Based on the Pro's and cons list, you might see that the pros outnumber the cons. However, the two main areas that this gaming headset is supposed to work (1) Reproducing audio and (2) Recording voice, it falls completely flat on it's face. The headphones audio is so bass focused and lacking in presence and clarity that I will most likely never listen to them again. The microphone picks up audio from the headphones which is just unacceptable!

If you have any additional questions about this microphone, leave them in the comments on this site or on the youtube channel, and I will try to reply ASAP.

Buy the Razer Carcharias:
US: http://amzn.to/2aGu1yc
UK: http://amzn.to/2aHH2cM

Buy the Soundcard
US: http://amzn.to/2api4xf
UK: http://amzn.to/2aUIkV7

Etekcity Scroll Gaming Headset (H5GX) Review / Test

For today's episode of podcastage, we are talking about another gaming headset; The Etekcity Scroll H5GX Gaming Headset. For this video/test, I connected the headset to my computer using a new Sabrent Stereo USB Soundcard which provides some voltage to the headsets microphone, ultimately improving the audio compared to connecting directly to a computer internal  mic input. I unfortunately do not own a computer with a built in mic input, so I am unable to provide a comparison.

If you are interested in this microphone, it will set you back $22 on Amazon

What's In the Box

  1. Headset w/ attached cable
  2. Documentation
  3. Warranty Card

Performance / Features

The build quality of the headset is what you'd expect out of a $20 headset; it's construction is fully plastic and it doesn't feel that durable. Regardless of the cheap feel, the ear cups and the headband do have rather soft padding which are comfortable. The mic joint feels decent, but it definitely feels like it will wear out after a fair amount of use. The braided cable is a nice feature which adds a premium feel to this headset, however, the control panel leaves a lot to be desired by only offering a headphone volume control and completely omitting a microphone mute switch. Lastly, the cable ends i/o consists of (2) 3.5mm jacks and (1) USB port. The 3.5mm jacks consist of a headphone and microphone cable, and the usb cable simply powers the headphones minimal lighting.

The headphones harbor 40mm drivers and list a frequency response of 20Hz - 20kHz. When I tested these specs using a tone generator, I began to hear decent performance around 30Hz in the low end, and heard audio to the edge of my audible range in the high end. When listening to music the performance is lackluster. They are very focused in the low-mid frequency range, and the audio is very muddy when listening to any bass heavy music. The headphones also seemed to lack a lot of high end and clarity.

No specifications were provided for the microphone in the documentation, except the listing that it is omnidirectional. In all honesty, I was once again impressed with this microphones performance. It has a very nice and clear audio which is what you need for gaming. Unfortunately, this fidelity is afforded by the omnidirectional polar pattern which also allows for keyboard noise to be picked up. But all around, the microphone performed much better than expected.

Pros

  • Decent microphone sound
  • Comfortable padding
  • Braided cable
  • Cheap

Cons

  • Headphones don't sound that good
  • Omni directional mic picks up keyboard noise
  • Full plastic build
  • Mic joint feels prone to failure

Conclusion

The headset is $22, and because of this I can't really complain about the poor build quality or the less than ideal headphone performance. If you are on an extremely tight budget and you need a gaming headset, I think that this will be a great option for you. Sure, the headphones won't give you audiophile level sound, but they will get the job done. Sure, the mic may pickup some keyboard noise, but your voice will sound good. Sure, the headphones may fall apart after a year, but they were only $22. That's what it all comes down to; a $22 headset that has a decent mic is worth it in my book.

If you have any additional questions about this microphone, leave them in the comments on this site or on the youtube channel, and I will try to reply ASAP.

Buy the H5GX:
US: http://amzn.to/2apihR8
UK: N/A

Buy the Soundcard
US: http://amzn.to/2api4xf
UK: http://amzn.to/2aUIkV7

 

AUKEY GH-S1 Gaming Headset Review/Test

Today I'm talking about the Aukey GH-S1 gaming headset. I do need to note that this headset was provided to me free of charge for the sake of this review. This is your standard gaming headset that splits into (2) 3.5mm cables, so keep that in mind when you are considering purchasing this mic. I also need to note that I connected this headset using the Sabrent Stereo USB Soundcard (AU-MMSA), which is available on amazon for approximately $5.00

If you are interested in this microphone, it will set you back $20 on Amazon

What's In the Box

  1. Headset (2.5-meter cable attached - splits into (2) 3.5mm plugs)
  2. Documentation
  3. Warranty Card

Performance / Features

The construction on this headset does not feel that good. It is an all plastic construction and it feels somewhat flimsy. There is leather (or pleather) padding on the ear cups and headband which provide somewhat decent comfort. The cable is your standard rubber cable, and it has a control module with a mic mute switch and headphone volume control.

The headphones offer 40mm drivers that perform better than you would expect out of a $20 headset. They list a frequency response of 20Hz - 20kHz, but I wasn't able to hear the headphones kick in until around 25Hz, and the audio didn't get powerful until we hit between 30-35Hz. These headphones are not going to win any award for performance, but they get the job done. They do tend to be a little more low-mid focussed than I would before, but all around I think they sound perfectly fine.

The microphone does not have many specifications listed so we don't know what they were going for. We do know that it is omni-directional which has a set of pros/cons. The omni directional polar pattern picks up your voice better and has a better frequency response and tone for your voice. However, it does tend to pick up a bit more keyboard noise and background noise than a unidirectional mic would. I think that it sounds awesome though. 

Pros

  • $20!!!
  • Great mic sound
  • Decent headphone performance

Cons

  • Cheap build quality
  • Picks up background noise
  • Headphones are a little too low-mid focussed

Conclusion

If you are on an extremely tight budget, this might be the right headset for you. For gaming it won't give you the best audio playback, but it gets the job done, and it has a very nice sounding microphone when connected to a usb soundcard. However, it will pick up a bit of your keyboard noise. 

I think that this would be a GREAT option if you're having a guest podcaster recording remotely who does not have any recording gear. Buy them this headset and a usb soundcard, walk them through the set up and you'll have very workable audio for $25, and your podcast guest will feel like they matter since you bought them a headset, and you didn't break you bank account. 

If you have any additional questions about this microphone, leave them in the comments on this site or on the youtube channel, and I will try to reply ASAP.

Buy the Aukey GH-S1 on Amazon
US: http://amzn.to/2ajIxgA
UK: http://amzn.to/29DNjbN

The Shrieker Podcast 010: Freeman Faust

Public defense attorney Freeman Faust joins us to talk about something we have all dealt with, whether we’ve thought about it or not: Social Contract. The agreements, whether explicit or implicit, define what behaviors are expected and acceptable in a group of any size. When these contracts are breached, when expectations do not line up, people tend to get upset. By talking together and clearly establishing a contract before playing, the group will hopefully be able endure for longer  and keep players happier. Episode #156 of the Misdirected Mark Podcast does a good job of breaking down a gaming social contract into the logistics of getting a group together and the campaign framework, which guides the story and playstyle of the game.

For your downloading pleasure, Freeman drafted an actual social contract, containing many of the topics that your tables social contract might include that you can force your players to sign. Remember, it’s not legally binding unless you have it stamped by a notary.

The Free RPG Society: Rewind: Temporal Tales is a pay-what-you-want RPG that handles time looping stories like Groundhogs Day. It’s written primarily for one player and one GM and works very well for that. It also has suggesting for using an oracle mechanic for solo play, though I didn’t find that very satisfying. Look for a full a review on the Geeks Rising blog.

Rate and Review our show on itunes, join our Facebook  and G+ communities, comment on our website, or email me. We’d love to hear from you.

The Shrieker Podcast 009: Nicholas Hopkins

After making things awkward with baby chickens, Nicholas Hopkins returns to The Shrieker to talk to us about the development of his first game.

Cyclopean Stars is a lovecraftian (not to be confused with cthulhuian) Powered by the Apocalypse game. Nick felt driven to write this game because other games in the genre just don’t do what he wants. Call of Cthulhu, the first mythos game, introduced a sanity mechanic to RPGs. Trail of Cthulhu, using the Gumshoe system, created a more flexible investigation system. Tremulustries really hard to emulate Call of Cthulhu, which was a misstep in Nick’s estimation. In Cyclopean Stars Nick wants to make a modern, narrative driven, long term game that is low prep (with a procedurally generated mysteries) that lets players quickly get wrapped up in a messy, corrupting world where you can’t help but get isolated from your past live. Nick’s game is still pretty early in it’s development but he’s hoping to playtest it as much as possible at Origins. You can follow or get involved in the development of Cyclopean Stars on the game’s G+ community.

This month you can download a Lovecraft inspired Apocalypse World style front, ready to drop squamulous horrors into your game.

The Free RPG Society: Quill is a pay-what-you-want, solo RPG based on letter writing. It’s fun but might not actually be an RPG. Look for a full a review on the Geeks Rising blog.

Rate and Review our show on itunes, join our Facebook  and G+ communities, comment on our website, or email me. We’d love to hear from you.

Kotion EACH G9000 Gaming Headset Review / Test

Today I am testing another gaming headset. This time it is the KOTION EACH G9000 GAMING HEADSET. I should note that my main interest in testing gaming headsets is the microphone. This is because I am searching for a headset that can function as an all in one podcasting options.

I also need to note that I am connecting this to my computer using a SABRENT USB AUDIO ADAPTER.

If you are interested in this microphone, it will set you back $25 on Amazon

What's In the Box

  • Headphones (w/ Attached 3.5mm TRRS / USB Cable)
  • TRRS Splitter
  • Documentation

Performance / Features

The build of this headset is nothing that will blow you away, but it is much better quality than you would expect out of a $25 headset. The build is all plastic, but it feels like sturdy plastic and it allows for a bit of bend without feeling like you're going to break it. The padding on the ear pieces and the headband are both fairly comfortable, and while testing them for a few hours, I never felt uncomfortable. Lastly, the cable is a cloth wound cable and it feels great. 

The headphones offer 40mm drivers and list a frequency response of 15Hz - 20kHz. When listening to music, they sound find. The bass response does not sound great, and the high end does not sound great. They only sound decent, which is what you would expect out of a cheap headset. But for most purposes, they will suffice.

No information was provided for the microphone. When speaking it does seem to provide a relatively decent frequency response and sound pretty natural. It does not seem hollow or thin like the majority of gaming mics I have tested out before, and therefore, I was impressed. However, it does seem to have an omnidirectional polar pattern which is not the best option for a gaming headset. This means it picks up lots of background noise.

Pros

  • Good Mic Sound
  • Decent build
  • Comfortable
  • Plug & Play
  • Super Cheap

Con

  • Omnidirectional Mic
  • Only decent headphone performance

Conclusion

The headphones just have decent performance, the microphone sounds great, but it picks up lots of background noise due to the omnidirectional polar pattern, and the build quality is decent.

I don't think that this headset will work for audiophiles, or gamers who are really concerned with background noise. If you are just looking for a headset to skype with, or if you don't mind background noise, then this is a great option at a low price.

If you have any additional questions about this headset, leave them in the comments on this site or on the youtube channel, and I will try to reply ASAP. 

Buy the Headset:
US: http://amzn.to/1XdbMFa
UK: http://amzn.to/1ZUMCu9

Buy the Soundcard:
US: http://amzn.to/1INAuru
UK: http://amzn.to/1ZUMtaa

Razer Kraken USB Gaming Headset Review / Test

Today I am testing out another gaming headset. This time, it is the Razer Kraken USB Gaming Headset. I should note that my main interest in testing gaming headsets is the microphone. This is because I am searching for a headset that can function as an all in one podcasting options.

If you are interested in this microphone, it will set you back $55 on Amazon

What's In the Box

  • Headphones (w/ Attached USB Cable Cable)
  • Documentation

Performance / Features

The build of this headset is decent. It has an all plastic build, but it is rather nice plastic. It has a lot of give/bend, so I think these might be able to handle some abuse. The ear padding is very comfortable, but the headband padding is lacking, but it's not overly uncomfortable. The microphone feels decent and it does articulate which is essential on any gaming headset. Lastly, the cable is a standard rubber cable, so there is nothing special going on there.

The headphones have 32mm Drivers that offer a frequency response of 20Hz - 20kHz. When I was testing the audio quality, they sounded decent, but they did seem to be a little bit bass heavy, and lacked a little bit of presence in the high end. 

The microphone is listed as unidirectional with a frequency response of 100Hz - 12kHz. I'm going to say it. The mic does not sound that great. It seems hollow and thin, and very unnatural. I suppose this could help the voice stand out among gameplay though.

Pros

  • Decent build
  • Comfortable
  • Plug & Play
  • Well known company (hopefully means good customer service / quality assurance)

Con

  • Microphone Sounds Hollow
  • Bass heavy / Presence Lacking in Headphones

Conclusion

This is not going to be a headset that you should buy if you are planning on recording voice overs or gaming commentaries. That's because the microphone sounds pretty bad. This IS a headset you will want if you are looking for a decent headset in the $50 price range, for GAMING and GAMING ALONE! The microphone will most likely cut through the gameplay and allow your friends to hear you. It also does pretty well at ignoring background noise. 

Simply put: this is a gaming headset designed to fit the needs of gamers. 

If you have any additional questions about this headset, leave them in the comments on this site or on the youtube channel, and I will try to reply ASAP. 

US: http://amzn.to/1YtzgVi
UK: http://amzn.to/22buVbi

The Shrieker Podcast 008: Josh Van Laningham

After plugging the new Shrieker Facebook and G+ groups, Josh Van Laningham talks to us about his work as an Art Director and Graphic Designer at Level 99 Games.

Level 99 produces 2 player head-to-head board games influenced by fighting video games. As a graphic designer, Josh takes all the art and game elements and assembles them into beautiful, usable, informative rule books, boxes and other items. He started work first on Mystic Empyrean, Level 99’s only RPG, which is now out of print but has a demo still available on DriveThruRPG. His favorite game is Sellswords, a card drafting, tile placement game. Their games are available directly from the Level 99 website and locally at the Empire Board Game Library.

This month you can download The Shrieker, a playable character for Level 99’s BattleCon. Unleash fungoid might to bring down your enemies!

The Free RPG Society: I got to try out Nighttime Guardians, the game we talked about last month. The good news is that the game’s cute setting and simple mechanics are just as charming in play as I expected. Unfortunately it has some serious balance issues that need to be addressed. Look for a full a review on the Geeks Rising blog.

Rate and Review our show on itunes, join our Facebook  and G+ communities, comment on our website, or email me. We’d love to hear from you.

HyperX Cloud II Gaming Headset Review / Test

Today I am testing out another gaming headset by the name of HyperX Cloud II. I should note that my main interest in testing gaming headsets is the microphone. This is because I am searching for a headset that can function as an all in one podcasting options.

If you are interested in this microphone, it will set you back $100 on Amazon

What's In the Box

  • Headphones (w/ Attached TRRS Cable)
  • USB Adapter/Control (TRRS Input)
  • Carrying Bag
  • Extra Ear Cushions
  • Airplane Adapter
  • 2-Year Warranty

Performance / Features

The build quality of this headset is outstanding. It is a nice strong aluminum build which ensures that the headphones are not too heavy, and at the same time allows for flexibility. I do also have to say that they are some of the most comfortable headphones I have ever worn. The microphone is a study build, so I'm not worried about it breaking, and the braided cable will ease your mind that the cable won't tear easily. The control panel has a microphone mute switch, headphone volume control, microphone volume control, and a 7.1 surround sound activator. Basically everything on this headset is built really well.

he headphones have 53mm drivers and they sound superb. They have a frequency response of 15Hz to 25kHz. When I tested them, in the low end, I started to hear sound around 15-20Hz and in the high end, I didn't hear frequencies until 17kHz, but that could be due to one too many shows without hearing protection. This is the best sounding gaming headset I have tested to date.

The microphone has a cardioid polar pattern and a frequency response of 50Hz - 18kHz. It does well at eliminating background noise, but it sounds very hollow and like it's missing a lot of frequencies.

Pros

  • Great Build Quality
  • Very Comfortable
  • Headphones Sound Excellent
  • TRRS & USB Connection Options

Con

  • Microphone Sounds Hollow

Conclusion

The headphones are great, but once you get to the microphone you lose some audio fidelity. I would recommend these headphones, but only to a gamer. That is who they were designed for, and that is really where they will excel. The mic eliminates background noise (i.e. Keyboard & Mouse) and just picks up your voice, and the headphones sound excellent. I am also assuming that the virtual 7.1 surround sound will provide some sort of situation awareness benefit in gaming.

If you have any additional questions about this headset, leave them in the comments on this site or on the youtube channel, and I will try to reply ASAP. 

Buy it on Amazon (US): http://amzn.to/1VbUPeP
Buy it on Amazon (UK): http://amzn.to/1YBPRpw

The Shrieker Podcast 005: Nicholas Hopkins

Nicholas Hopkins talks with us this month about organizing the Albuquerque Area RPG Meetup group. Tabletop gaming, which is a social activity, creates a funny, antisocial community structure of isolated gaming groups. The Meetup group provides a centralized place for gamers from across the city and surrounding areas to find new games and players. This is particularly useful for gamers interested in games besides D&D and Pathfinder, which are usually pretty well supported in the gaming stores, but anyone is welcome to use the Meetup group to organize gaming events of all kinds. The majority of the events on the site are LARP related but that doesn’t necessarily reflect what most of the members are interested in. Nick’s monthly game night’s (UPDATE: now held weekly at Tradesmart) offer a buffet of interesting new game experiences. Hopefully the Meetup will continue to grow in member count and activity level.

This month you can download The Dream Doll, a magic item that allows players to explore a “What If” scenario in which their character achieves their fondest dreams.

Rate and Review our show on itunes, comment on our website, or email me. We’d love to hear from you.

Logitech G230 Gaming Headset Review / Test

It's time for another gaming headset review. This time I am testing out the Logitech G230 Gaming Headset. If you are interested in this gaming headset, it runs approximately $65 on Amazon. 

What's In the Box 

  1. Wired Gaming Headset
  2. Documentation

Performance / Features

The build quality on this headset is a huge letdown. The plastic all over the headphones feels cheap, and the hinges feel weak like they will break. The foam on the headband is a bit too firm, but not uncomfortable, and the padding on the ear cups is a much softer foam, but still a little too firm for my liking. However, the headphones were not uncomfortable, I am just being overly critical.

The cable is braided which is always a good thing. It makes me feel like the cable will survive longer. On top of that, the cable is 10 feet long. The cable also contains a small control module that allows you to mute the microphone and adjust the headphone's volume. The control panel has a clip on the back so you can clip it to your shirt as well.

The headphone drivers are 40mm and are advertised as 20Hz to 20kHz. When I tested them, they performed pretty close to that. I started hearing noise around 20Hz in the low end, and in the high end, I heard audio just above 19.5kHz. 

The microphone performed pretty well for a gaming headset. It is a cardioid uni-directional microphone and it lists a frequency response of 50Hz to 20kHz (which I don't fully trust). The microphone also mentions that it is noise canceling to help eliminate excess noises.  

Pros

  • Good Sounding Microphone
  • Good Noise Cancellation on Microphone
  • Nice Sounding Headphones
  • Braided 10 ft. Cable

Cons

  • Poor Construction
  • Padding is made of overly Firm Foam. 

Conclusion

I think that this is a pretty decent option for a gaming headset. The headphones perform admirably. They provide some of the best frequency response that I have heard in a cheap headset. The microphone is also a very nice feature on this headset. The audio does not sound muffled or digitized like the majority of low end gaming headset microphones. The mic provides fairly natural sound even though it does sound like it lacks some frequencies from it's response.

If you are looking for a headset around $65 that will allow you to walk 10 feet, this is a good option, but if this is out of your price range make sure to check out my other gaming headset reviews. If you have any additional questions about this headset, leave them in the comments on this site or on the youtube channel, and I will try to reply ASAP. 

Buy it on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1QV7PSv

Afterglow AG9 Wireless Gaming Headset Review / Test

Today I am testing out another gaming headset. This time, that headset is the Afterglow AG 9 Wireless Gaming Headset. I want to remind everyone that the main focus of me reviewing these gaming headsets is to find a good all in one podcasting package and that is how I am approaching this review. If you are interested in this headset, it will set you back about $90 on amazon for the PS4 version or $100 on Amazon for the Xbox One version.

What's In the Box 

  1. Wireless Headset
  2. Removable Noise-Canceling Microphone
  3. Wireless Transmitter (USB)
  4. 6-foot Charging Cable
  5. 3.5 mm Audio Cable
  6. User Manual

Performance / Features

The build quality of this headset is the best of any headset I've tested to date, and on top of that it is also the most comfortable. The battery in these headphones is also advertised as lasting ~16 hour which is a very admirable battery life on a fully wireless headset. 

On the left ear cup we have all the controls. The center button on the earphone will turn on the headset when pressed for a few seconds, and then while using the headset wirelessly, pressing this button once will mute your microphone. The button directly above the microphone port changes the headphone sound between pure audio and bass boost modes. On the bottom of the left ear cup you will find the charging port as well as the 3.5mm output which will allow you to plug directly into your computer, and lastly, on the back of the earphone is a volume slider to adjust the headphones volume.

The headphone drivers are 50mm, but I wasn't able to find any advertised frequency response. While doing my test, I found that when wired into the audio source (using the 3.5mm cable), I heard audio between 20-25Hz in the low end and around 19.5kHz in the high end. When I was wireless (using the USB transmitter), I heard audio between 20-25Hz in the low end and around 17.5kHz in the high end. So we see a significant drop in the high end performance when we are wireless.

The microphone is severely lacking on this headset. After testing the AGU.50's and finding that the microphone sounded great, I was shocked to find that the higher end headset had a lower quality microphone. I think that this lower quality/performance could stem from requirements to make the headphones full wireless, but I cannot speak to this with any certainty. The best way I can describe the microphones audio is that it sounds digital and narrow (just listen to the audio in the above video if you want to know what it sounds like).

Pros

  • Great Sounding Headphones
  • Excellent Build Quality
  • Very Comfortable
  • 100% Wireless / Wired Option
  • 16 hour battery life

Cons

  • Microphone Audio Quality is poor
  • No Gain Control of Microphone

Conclusion

I think that the absence of a microphone volume control on the headset is a large oversight. I also did not like how a lot of the functionality is disabled when you use the headphones plugged into the 3.5mm cable. The microphone is another big downside to this headset. 

Basically, this is a good gaming headset, but only if that's what you are going to be using it for. The headphones build quality and sound quality is excellent and I am very impressed with both of these aspects of the headset. However, if you are someone who needs usable audio out of the microphone, then this headset is not for you. I would actually recommend the slightly lower quality headset (Afterglow AGU.50) if you are looking for a headset with a good mic on it. If you have any questions about the microphone, leave them in the comments down below or on youtube and I will get back to you ASAP. Thanks for watching & reading. 

Afterglow AG 9 (PS4): http://amzn.to/1lVj5mG
Afterglow AG 9 (Xbox One): http://amzn.to/1T5aIPC
Afterglow AGU.50: http://amzn.to/1lVjaa3